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Falcon undergoes cataract surgery in New Hampshire, gets artificial lenses

09/30/2014 12:25 EDT | Updated 11/30/2014 05:59 EST
CONCORD, N.H. - A falcon in New Hampshire has undergone eye surgery to remove cataracts and has received new synthetic lenses.

Banner, a four-year-old falcon, lost its sight and hasn't been able to fly or hunt for the past two years. On Monday, a team at Capital Veterinary Emergency Services in Concord removed the cataracts and put in artificial lenses in the hour-long procedure.

The Concord Monitor reports (http://bit.ly/1DUMvpn) I-Med, a Canadian ophthalmology supply manufacturer, donated the six-milimetre-wide lenses. Dozens of people in Montreal, California, Ohio, Germany and Abu Dhabi were involved in their design. A surgeon and veterinary ophthalmologist donated their time for the operation.

Banner's owners, Nancy and Jim Cowan of the New Hampshire School of Falconry in Deering, say it's the first time this surgery has been done on a falcon.

Banner will need anti-inflammatory eye drops for a few weeks to make sure her eyelids don't become too irritated by the sutures in her corneas.

"When we first started looking for help, we heard a lot of anecdotal, 'well, it can't be done,'" Jim Cowan said.

Nancy Cowan held Banner on her glove as he shook a leather tassel a few feet away. He smiled when Banner turned toward it.

"You can see something all right," he said. "You can see something."

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Information from: Concord Monitor, http://www.cmonitor.com

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